Interview with Laura Ries: “Visual Hammer” Era Cometh! (Part 3/3)

<< Interview with Laura Ries: Packaging and Celebrity (Part 2/3)

<< Interview with Laura Ries: Logo, Trademark, Slogan and Product Design (Part 1/3)


Color, Personal Branding and Visual Hammer:

Kamil: I think one of the most of important part is missing in the ‘Color’ chapter is about the choice of ‘opposite color’. For example, if your competitor’s color is black, then you should select the white. Can you list other opposite colors to make life easier of marketers?

Laura: That’s also an excellent point which reinforces my favorable opinion of your marketing savvy. But I would only recognize eight primary colors from the color wheel.

Here would be my choices: white/black, red/green, yellow/blue, purple/orange.


Competitor’s color

Your color

White Black
Red Green
Yellow Blue
Purple Orange




Kamil: On the most of your appearance on TV, you have been seen wearing red color.

I think, this is because the same color of your company and new book. What color Al Ries should wear? Of course, he can’t wear red jacket. How about red tie? : )

Laura: Good thought. As a matter of fact, my dad does usually wear a red tie.

Red is the color of our visual hammer. A red “focus” symbol. (We call ourselves, “focusing consultants.”)

image_thumb13_thumb laura-tv32





Bill Cosby was a comedian and the star of many television shows before it became a spokesperson for brands.You first need to be famous and then you might find work as a spokesperson.” Laura Ries








Kamil: Do you think, Visual Hammer idea is new? It’s perhaps the oldest methods practiced by top ad men. Your previous books also talked about this concept. Al Ries’s and Jack Trout’s books also have talked about the visual and verbal combination, however, they discussed this idea in words. What new and different ideas are discussed in this book?

Laura: Nothing is ever totally new. Many marketers have used visuals but have not necessarily recognized their role or their importance.

My concept is not just based on finding a good visual for your brand. My concept is much more focused on the “relationship” between the visual and the verbal.

In other words, consider finding a visual that reinforces your verbal or vice versa.

This is essentially a brand new idea in marketing.

Kamil: I actually agree what you just said. In fact, I’m planning to conduct (qualitative) research on the relationship of verbal and visual relationship.


Kamil: People are brands. How can we apply this idea to people by the combination of both verbal and visual?

Laura: You could think of your clothing as a visual hammer for your brand. Steve Jobs always dressed the same way.

Your cartoon visual or should I say your Kartoon visual could be a powerful visual hammer for your brand.

Steve-Jobs-New-balance-shoes_thumb3_ Apple-CEO-Steve-Jobs-Keynote-Fashion[2]


Kamil: What is your comment for the book, Brand Sense, by Martin Lindstorm? His work also somewhat relates to your work in Visual Hammer.


Laura: For some products, it could be important to develop specific product attributes involving the senses, (touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound.)

For example, developing a specific “new car” smell for an automobile brand could be very helpful. Would it replace the visual/verbal combination used by BMW with its “ultimate driving machine” campaign? I think not.

There are a lot of marketing ideas and tactics that can be helpful in building a brand and certainly Visual Hammer doesn’t discuss these.

But it’s a question of what’s more important. And I think that Visual Hammer deals with the two most important issues in marketing. (Three if you include the name.)


Kamil: The book, Horse Sense, how much you have applied ideas given in this book in your life? Do you think this book is still relevant?

Laura: What is the No.1 horse in the Horse Sense book? It’s the “family” horse. That’s why I kept the name Ries when I got married.

Sure, the ideas are very relevant especially for younger people who always want to be successful on their own. That’s very difficult. Most people today are successful because they have found a horse. A company, a brand, etc.

Don’t try to do everything yourself. Look for someone or something that can help you achieve your objectives.



“You could think of your clothing as a visual hammer for your brand. Laura627x3301

Steve Jobs always dressed the same way.” Laura Ries


Other important questions:

Kamil: My audience may like to know how do you generate ideas for writing books and offering suggestion to your clients? We might try to follow your method to achieve effective results.


Laura: You can’t “think” your way to success. The best strategy to use is to fill your brain with information by reading newspapers, magazines, books, anything you can find that will provide interesting and useful data.

Then let your subconscious take over and ideas and thoughts will occur to you. The last chapter in the Visual Hammer book discusses this process.

Kamil: How do you differentiate yourself and your brand name with Al Ries, as both of you have “Ries” in common?

Laura: It’s not necessary. The “Ries” brand is known for marketing and making the transition from one generation to the next will happen gradually.

Kamil: Although, you and Al have one positioning, Focus, under Ries & Ries. Do both of you needs separate positioning as a personal brand and in your personal lives?

We don’t need a position in our personal lives. The only thing we need a position for is in our consulting business.

It’s best not to confuse the two. Sometimes, however, an author can become famous as a personality. But we want to develop our consulting business. That’s our major concern.

Kamil: What advice do you have for current and potential marketers?

Focus. Very few companies do so. Very few brands are focused. There is an enormous advantage for a brand that can be defined in a single word or concept. And that, of course, leads to a visual that can hammer in that single word or concept.

Easy in concept, difficult in practice.

Kamil: This is one of the most marvelous , most knowledgeable discussion I ever had. Thank you Laura, it was a pleasure talking you.

<< Interview with Laura Ries: Packaging and Celebrity (Part 2/3)

<< Interview with Laura Ries: Logo, Trademark, Slogan and Product Design (Part 1/3)



Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email